Skip to main content

My Favorite Moments from the First Semester of the GBS Program

Elisabeth Betlinger ’24, Oscar Franz ’24, and Ruolan Zhang ’24 share highlights from fall at SOM.

Students around a Thanksgiving table
Elisabeth Beltinger ’24

The first semester at Yale has been a semester full of new experiences and amazing new friendships for me. After an amazing first week getting to know our classmates, some people from my program and I took a trip to the Hamptons to make the most of the last few warm days. Just after, classes started, and it was great to dive into learning. Personally, one of my favorite classes was Mastering Influence and Persuasion, where I learned how to deal a paper clip into wireless earphones and how to negotiate movie deals.

Outside of classes, I joined the Yale Grad Rugby Football Club—a sport I had never tried before. It was amazing to meet students from other programs outside of SOM, and the weekly trainings became some of my favorite moments during the week.

And things are becoming very exciting: We will compete against Harvard during the annual game this month!

I also managed to join an undergraduate dance team—Danceworks—for which we just had our first midterm recital. It has been amazing to get in touch with undergraduate students and to get a look into the residential college life here at Yale. 

There were also a lot of fun things happening at Yale these past few months. I attended panel talks about sustainable food industries and about tech internships, International Week with traditional food, and the amazing Friendsgiving hosted by AASL. The fall break also gave us the opportunity to explore the country—a few friends and I decided to travel to Puerto Rico, where we enjoyed the amazing Caribbean beaches and the rainforest.

Overall the academic year could not have been off to a better start—and I’m keen to see what more there is to come! Bring on Fall 2!

Oscar Franz headshot
Oscar Franz ’24

My first semester at Yale was simply amazing! During orientation, I got to meet the incredibly diverse, inspiring, and empowering SOM community. I met fellow students from all parts of the world and was amazed by the fact everyone had a story to tell. This was also true for the SOM staff and faculty—I loved the short chats with the staff at Charley’s Place (SOM’s canteen) and McNay Café.

But SOM is not only about meeting people—it’s a school, after all. Classes here left me amazed and inspired. My favorite class this semester was The Future of Global Finance with Professor Jeffrey Garten. We discussed the impact of cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence on the financial system and reflected on the role that financial institutions should play for the environment and society. As part of my GBS degree, I was able to take classes outside of SOM as well. I took a class at the Yale School of the Environment, where I learned about the physical science foundations of earth, including carbon and nutrient cycles, which are crucial to understand to battle climate change.

Overall, I loved my first semester at SOM and cannot wait for what’s to come in spring!

Ruolan Zhang and friend with Heidi
Ruolan Zhang ’24

The first semester at SOM is an exciting time filled with chances to make new friends and engage with individuals from all over the world. The open-minded environment at SOM is supportive of any kind of discussion, making the community diverse yet inclusive at the same time. It’s important to pay attention to the coursework, of course, but don’t miss out engaging in the awesome activities and events outside the classroom. Building connections with other people and finding like-minded individuals become easier here at SOM, and SOM also provides plenty of opportunities to mingle and offers various kinds of support whenever we need it.